Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I thought my judgment was an order for the debtor to pay? Isn't the debtor breaking the law by not paying me? 

A: Unfortunately it is not against the law to owe money. We do not have debtor's prison anymore. And if your debtor were in jail, it would be more difficult for us to collect. We want the debtor working, making money, saving money, and making purchases so that we can take them to help pay his/her debts.   

Q: Won't the court get my money for me? 

A: No. The court system will award you a judgment but you are on your own to collect. The court cannot even advise you on what your options are. Each year millions of dollars go uncollected because the courts cannot force debtors to pay.   

Q: What are my options? 

A: As a judgment holder you have the right to assign that judgment to a third party, like us, for collection. You can hire an attorney and pay their hourly rate or you can work on collection of it yourself.    

Q: Can I use an attorney? 

A: Yes you can. However, an attorney will charge an hourly fee of $175 to $250 per hour. Also, while many attorneys are skilled at getting judgments, most are not familiar with effective post-judgment strategies.   

Q: Why shouldn't I collect this myself? 

A: Collection is not an easy task. If your debtor was going to willingly pay you they would have done so already. Finding your debtor is not the hard part, knowing what assets you can legally take and which are exempt, the court forms and paperwork that is required to perform a levy action and how to legally respond when they fight for their assets, that's where it gets hard. You will have to spend your free time confirming information, preparing paperwork, running to the courthouse, filing paperwork, court appearances and dealing with your debtor. And of course there are fees that you will have to pay every step of the way.

Q: But how much will it cost me, really? 

A: It will cost you absolutely nothing. We advance all costs. If there are additional court expenses, we petition the court to add these to the judgment. We work with attorneys at no cost to you. In short: We spend the time and the money. If we don't collect, it still costs you nothing.   

Q: Are you a collection agency? 

A: We are not a collection agency. Collection agencies process debts in bulk. They send out thousands of spiteful letters and call debtors to try to get them to pay. We are different. We actually "take assignment" on your judgment. Then we have the authority to pull credit reports, conduct thorough asset investigations, including surveillance, bank locates and more, and even bring your debtor back into court. Our cases are treated individually and expertly. We are not afraid to put out money for enforcement procedures. And we have resources that collection agencies will never have.   

Q: How do you get my money? 

A: We employ a number of legal methods used to collect judgments. These can include liens on property, foreclosures, wage garnishment, bank account seizure, income interception, negotiated payments etc.. The method employed depends on the debtor's individual situation and level of cooperation. We use aggressive, but legal methods that have been proven effective.   

Q: How long does it take? 

A: The length of time needed to collect any given judgment is dependent on several factors; your debtor's financial situation, the amount of the judgment. Whether the debtor is cooperative or fights us every step of the way. The work load at the courthouse and sheriff's departments also affect the overall length of time. Over the years we have found that on average it usually takes 18-36 months to collect. Sometimes it's quicker, sometimes longer, again depending on the debtor's situation. If someone tells you they will collect in 90 days, this may mean after only 90 days they quit working on it. We will work it until the case expires.   

Q. Can you guarantee that you'll collect the money judgment? 

A: There are no guarantees, except that we will make our strongest effort. We use every strategy to collect, including pursuing assets of spouses and even a former spouse, and when appropriate, add debtors to your judgment on "alter ego theory". If your debtor files for Bankruptcy, not all is lost. When appropriate, we will fight the debtor's bankruptcy in order to get the judgment non-discharged.   

Q. How long is my judgment good for? 

A: If you are in California, a judgment is good for an initial 10 years, and can be renewed indefinitely. It is also collecting 10% interest per year. Other states may vary from 7 to 25 years.   

Q: How will I know what you are doing? 

A: We are happy to give updates on a quarterly basis. Updates can be requested by phone or email.   

Q: What happens if the debtor has filed for Bankruptcy? 

A: Federal law does prohibit collection efforts while a debtor is in bankruptcy, but all may not be lost. There are some situations where assets may still be available for collection.   

Q: What if my debtor doesn't have any assets? 

A: While it's true we can't "suck blood from a stone", many debtors have assets that you wouldn't think about. Through our years of experience we have learned what those assets may be and how to locate assets that the debtor's are intentionally hiding.   

Q: What do I have to do to get this started? 

A: Assignment is a very simple process; if we have sent you correspondence through the mail then we may already have information on your case in our database. You can call us at, 510-733-2082 or email us at, and request an agreement package. If you have not received correspondence, then we will need a copy of your judgment either faxed or mailed to our office. Once we have that we will enter the information into our database and generate contracts for your review. When we receive the signed, notarized agreement package back from you we will file the paperwork with the courthouse and begin working on collection.   

249 West Jackson Street # 530
Hayward, CA 94544-1811

DISCLAIMER: Terrific Judgment Recovery is not a law firm and does not provide any legal advice. You will need to seek competent legal advice of your own if needed. Terrific Judgment Recovery neither makes, nor implies, any guarantee as to the outcome of any judgment enforcement or collection case.